New Orleans braces as Hurricane Barry hits land nearby

Early signs of flooding from Barry are seen in Morgan City, La. (CNN Photo)

INTRACOASTAL CITY, La. (CNN and FOX NEWS) — Hurricane Barry unloaded powerful winds and heavy rains as it finally made landfall Saturday along the Louisiana coast.

Barry was classified as a Tropical Storm until 11 a.m. Saturday, when it was officially upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane.

The hurricane officially made landfall just before 2 p.m. Saturday near Intracoastal City, La., and was immediately downgraded back to a tropical storm.

Intracoastal City is situated 165 miles due west of New Orleans.

The National Hurricane Center said its slow trek means a longer period of heavy rainfall and flooding that will last through next week, forecasters said.

Rain bands are moving onshore in Louisiana as Barry inches northwest at 5 mph, also bringing 70-mph sustained winds, a dangerous storm surge and possible tornadoes.

Though heavy, sustained rain still threatens the New Orleans area, fears there have relaxed as a predicted storm surge on the unusually high Mississippi River happened late Friday at a lower level than predicted, according to the National Weather Service in New Orleans.

A hurricane warning is in effect along part of the Louisiana coast, while inland areas, including the lower Mississippi Valley,¬†are under¬†tropical storm warnings.¬†Tropical-storm-force winds will extend up to 175 miles outward from the storm’s center, Louisiana, forecasters said.

More than 62,000 customers across Louisiana were without power on Saturday, utility providers said.

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